38 pounds when she entered rescue
In her Bailey's chair
Ruthie at 58 pounds
Ruthie and Santa Paws
The roommate stated Ruthie's owner was incarcerated. It's hard to imagine that Ruthie's
inability to eat efficiently began at the shelter, but the enlarged esophagus went undiagnosed
until Dobie-Rescue volunteer Mary Ellen secured Ruthie from the shelter in mid November.
Ruthie's weight had plummeted to 38 pounds.
Mary Ellen immediately suspected Megaesophagus as the cause of the apparent starvation,
and with the help of Dr. Debbie Justice-Obley at Bradfordville Animal Hospital in Tallahassee
the diagnosis was complete. Ruthie had lost over 20 pounds while suffering her own
incarceration at the Animal Control Facility.
Megaesophagus is a condition in which the esophagus permanently loses muscle tone,
causing swallowed food to collect in an esophageal pouch instead of traveling on to the
stomach for digestion. Regurgitation of the swallowed food and water eventually occurs after
each meal. The process of regurgitation can introduce the food and water to the lungs.
Introduction to the lungs is Aspiration Pneumonia. Either of these scenarios, pneumonia or
starvation, causes death.
Finding an immediate food source to benefit Ruthie in her starved condition was the very first
priority. Nice round meatballs, pre-packaged from the frozen food section at the grocer came
to mind. The meatballs worked, but Ruthie had to be held upright to swallow them successfully.
A special feeding chair for Ruthie was needed. Materials and tools were quickly gathered to
construct a prototype chair. Plans for the chair, most commonly known as a "Bailey’s" chair,
were easily located on the Internet. The prototype worked so well that the second chair has
yet to be constructed. Our prototype was made from 1x4 white pine lumber and foam rubber
The chair enables Ruthie to sit up while she eats. Gravity helps move the food past her
esophagus to her stomach.
Ruthie is finally up to 58 pounds and she is almost healthy enough for spay surgery. Ruthie is
improving daily and blossoming right in front of our eyes. She is starting to play with the other
dogs and she loves to run and bark at the chickens and peafowl that are safely penned at her
foster home. She is a wonderful dog that will make a great companion to someone who has the
heart to give her the loving home she deserves. Her feedings are the only special care she
needs, and she is quite comfortable in her chair for the 30 minutes after each feeding.
In addition to Ruthie's Megaesophagus, she has several masses along her mammary chain
and a few other locations. The current medical management plan is to remove as many as
possible during Ruthie's upcoming spay procedure. Thoracic X-rays show no sign of cancer in
Ruthie is fostered near Tallahassee, Florida and is anxious to find her forever home.
Please write to her foster mom for adoption information at Felidacity@msn.com